Metro has to make economic sense to go ahead, EU transport commissioner says

European Commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc, who was in Malta for discussions on the island's infrastructural projects, said it would ultimately be the government's call whether to go ahead with a metro project

The decision on constructing a metro in Malta will have to be made according to the economic and financial factors which come into play, the European Commissioner for transport has said.

Violeta Bulc said that another aspect to keep in mind is that in one or two decades' time, the situation might look different due to changes and advances in technology.

Ultimately, it would have to be the government to make the call on whether to build a metro, she said.

Bulc, who came to Malta on Friday for discussions on the island's infrastructural projects, was addressing a press conference together with Transport Minister Ian Borg, European Affairs Minister Helena Dalli and environment European Commisioner Karmenu Vella.

Calling her trip to Malta "extremely dynamic and fruitful", Bulc said, after visiting the ongoing Marsa junction works earlier today, that she was confident that the €42 million in EU funds granted for the project were being "very well used." The Marsa project is being 85% funded by the EU.

"So far it seems to be going pretty well, and I have full confidence that it will be ready within the projected two and a half years," Bulc said, adding that the government had been using some "very innovative approaches" to ensure the junction was delivered on time.

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg, noting that the Marsa junction works had now entered into their third stage, said that the project plans had over time be developed and improved, including through splitting them into phases.

He also underlined that, apart from the €700 million which have been put in towards revamping the entire country's road network, the government was also investing in maritime transportation, and in the Gozo tunnel, which it was committed to build.

"I think this was a good day for both parties, since we discussed the challenges and opportunities in the transport sector," Borg said.

On her part, Helena Dalli underscored her satisfaction with the progress on the junction, remarking that it was "a gateway to the south, which is were my constituency is."

She said that EU funds are crucial to the project's completion, and this showed how they were of direct benefit to Maltese citizens.

Great potential of the seas

Karmenu Vella said the joint trip between him and Bulc has been significant, as it illustrated the links between their two portfolios.

He also went on to speak about the potential of the world's seas - the blue economy - highlighted how while land formed just 30% of the Earth, it generated 95% of global economic activity.

"Less than 5% of economic activity comes from the oceans," he said, "This demonstrates how big the potential is, but our environmental responsibility towards the seas is even greater."

He added that Malta wanted to receive its fair share of the oceans' economic potential, but also would be taking on its environmental responsibility.

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